Affiliation: UCSC alumnus: Porter College, Bachelor of Arts, 1995
Fritz Chesnut was born in 1973 in Santa Fe, New Mexico and currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California. He received his B.A. from UC Santa Cruz in 1995 and his M.F.A. from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University in 1997. He has had solo exhibitions at AF Projects, There-There and C. Nichols Project, (Los Angeles), Country Club, (Los Angeles and Cincinnati), CULT Aimee Friberg Exhibitions, (San Francisco) and Bellwether Gallery, (New York). His work has been seen in such venues as LAXART, Los Angeles, Public Fiction, Los Angeles, Pepin-Moore, Los Angeles, White Columns, New York, The Bronx Museum, New York, and Andrew Rafacz, Chicago, among many others.
In Conversation with Fritz Chesnut
Greatest influences that shaped your career?
Two professors from UCSC were very supportive and helpful early on while I was an undergrad. Beth Stephens and Alan Firestone, both of which I’m still in touch with today were super influential in encouraging me to pursue the “anything can be art” and “there’s a way it can get made/don’t take no for an answer” mode of thinking that I’m fond of.
Passions, joys, and causes drive you?
Being a father and being conscious of the environment are both hugely important to me. I’m far from perfect but I can’t help but be optimistic and try and steer my children toward contributing to a habitable planet. Getting to surf with my son is such a thrill and I’m always thinking about how that connection to nature can nurture an environmentally minded person.
The relevance and role of arts education in today’s world?
I subscribe to the belief that creative thinking can be applied to all aspects of a person’s life or areas of study in college.
What’s exciting for you about the vision and mission of UCSC’s Arts Division?
I hope I can share my knowledge and experience working in the art world for the last 25 years with the students. I get the sense that students are hungry for mentorship when it comes to the professional side of being an artist.